BRITNEY SPEARS LIVE: THE ILLUSION OR THE REALITY?

Nervousness, anticipation, illusions and a lot of love. I left Britney Spears’ concert in Oslo radiant: “If I loved her, I now love her even more”, I said multiple times. Despite the amazing experience and the phenomenal show, I still have to comment on the Meet&Greet experiences that seem to leave fans sad and disappointed. Between seeing Britney Spears in the first line of the show or meeting her backstage, the first option seems way better. This was my #PieceOfMe experience.

If on the 9th of November of 2011 someone told me, as I was leaving the (back then) Pavilhão Atlântico, that I was going to be seven years later seeing Britney Spears live again, I wouldn’t believe it. If, on top of that, they told me that this was going to be part of a sold out world tour with a happier, more beautiful and dedicated Britney Spears and that I would be first row of the show, I’d probably laugh out loud and say: “What a dream!” And, can you believe that all of that really happened and that a dream became (once more) reality?

It looks like it was yesterday… Well, it wasn’t too far from that. It has only been a week and a few days since the Oslo show but if we look at it, the “Piece Of Me Tour” has been to Sweden, Germany, Belgium and is now back to the United Kingdom. All of these stops, make it look far away!

It was on the 10th of August that I went to the Telenor Arena (Oslo, Norway) to see the “Piece Of Me Tour” live. If someone asked me a word to describe the experience, it’d be “surreal”. Why? Well, because I know this show for over four years and I’ve always looked at it as if it was a dream… It is a show I know so well through videos, photos and audios but that has always seemed so distant due to its Las Vegas exclusivity… A complicated trip for many Britney Spears’ fans.

Well, I got inside of the arena knowing the stage and every detail of every remix played. Without practice, I knew the majority of the choreographies and even the small interactions with the audience: “Are you ready to break the ice?”, she usually shouts before that song starts. This didn’t make the experience any less special, quite the opposite, in fact. Besides this surreal feeling, it looked like the first time I was seeing her live. Despite the fact that I still love “The Femme Fatale Tour”, every fan knows that today’s Britney is not the same as the 2011 Britney… Less dedicated, fun and not as happy. Just like it isn’t the 2003 Britney… Which is completely OK.

It was exactly at 6PM that early entry ticket holders got into the arena and there I was holding tight to my first line, despite someone asking for my place which I obviously didn’t allow. One of the first things I noticed when inside was the stage dimensions… It is way smaller than what it looks in the videos, at least width wise. After studying the perimeter, the long wait for 9PM (Britney’s show) started.

Behind me, two fans that were on the backstage tour arrived and were getting ready for the Meet&Greet that would only happen at 7:30PM. It was a man and a woman and they were obviously nervous. After a small conversation, they left. The Meet&Greet time was scheduled for the same time as Pitbull’s opening act. The rapper got on stage and performed every hit we know from him: “I Know You Want Me”, “Feel This Moment”, “Timber” or “Give Me Everything”. At the end, he thanked Britney for the opportunity, showing his respect to her career. The stage assistants rapidly removed Pitbull’s material off the stage and now you only saw a black curtain covering Britney’s structures.

A few minutes after, the boy and the girl that went to meet Britney backstage arrived. It didn’t take too long until the girl started crying: “It looks like she wasn’t there. She hugged no one. She said she was sick!” The girl looked disappointed but, at the same time, tried to convince herself that it was worth it. I couldn’t help but feeling bad for her and said: “Please, don’t cry. We all know everything she has been through… She’s shy and feels uncomfortable being around too many people. Just like you know she is not singing live when you buy a ticket for her concert, you know a Meet&Greet may not be as ideal. At least she knows, or knew, for a moments that you exist. That’s something to remember.”

My words seem to have calmed her down. As for the boy, he was also disappointed but quickly got back on track and seemed to be grateful for the experience.

At around 9:05PM, the lights went out and the black curtain was removed. “Work Bitch” intro sounds started and a few seconds after, there was Britney Spears on the right side of the stage looking triumphant. Telenor Arena went crazy and quickly started singing each song with the Pop Princess. After all, the setlist features all of her hits, it’s impossible not to sing along, even if you’re not a fan.

Before “Break The Ice” and, contradicting my thoughts that I knew everything she was going to say, she shouted: “What do you do when you’re locked in a room for three hours? YOU FREAK OUT!” Right after the song started, Britney asked her sound team to increase the sound on her in-ear monitors. Actually, she asked that countless times during the show which is something you don’t see all the time. It shows that, after all, Britney Spears doesn’t get on stage just to dance and lip sync. She knows what has to be done and how it is supposed to be done. She’s been here for almost 20 years, thinking any other way, is ridiculous.

For over an hour and a half, Britney didn’t stop for a second. She danced, she climbed the side structures, she ran all over the place… There wasn’t a moment to rest. While going off and on the stage, I couldn’t help to notice how fun she looked (or simply is). Behind the structures, one could see her doing silly dances with her team and, multiple times, while walking to the stage she would slap some dancers’ butts… It’s great to see how well they get along.

Another aspect that melts every fan is the fact that during the entire show, there is basically no moments when she isn’t smiling. You can see her humbleness, happiness, dedication and empathy. Nonetheless, and for some people’s sadness, Britney barely makes eye contact with the audience. Probably due to her shyness, she feels more comfortable looking at the darkness in front of her than to the fans on the first line. If that allows her to delivers a better show, I am sure no one is bothered.

One other key moment in this show was her interaction with the audience before “Freakshow”. Once more she contradicted my idea that I knew everything she was going to say. This time, she played a game: “Let’s see which side of the audience is louder”. The left side went first and didn’t please her: “Definite re-do!” On the right side – where I was – she had no doubts: “This side definitely wins!” Talking about “Freakshow”, the fan that went on stage arrived to the Telenor Arena with the homework done. In case you don’t know, it’s generally the dancers that choose the victim to go on stage and, because of that, the fan caught the dancers outside and gave them clothes from Massimo Dutti and stuff. It worked!

The show was about to end and there were five songs left that quickly became three. “Slumber Party” and “Touch of My Hand” didn’t make the setlist and it was time for “Toxic”. Arround me, fans didn’t like it: “What about ‘Touch Of My Hand’?” But well, it really was time for “Toxic”, “Stronger” and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” that left the audience crazy singing as loud as the stage sound. Before “Till The World Ends”, Britney came back and said: “Oslo, are you ready for one more?”

The show finished with tons of confettis, jumps and screams and with the living proof that Britney Spears it not done. With an almost 20 years career, the eternal Pop Princess still can sell out shows all over the world even without a major hit since 2012. Britney Spears is a legend and will always be. She has influenced millions and her legacy will live for decades and decades.

As a fan that follows her for many of those 20 years, I couldn’t be prouder of everything she has achieved and what she has become. While she does what she does because she genuinely likes it, you can tell she does a lot for her fans and we should always thank her. Seeing her in 2011 and, now, in 2018 proves to anyone that she is doing way better and is way healthier. We will never see her dancing like “Britney” or “In The Zone” era but we’ll get to see her happier than ever.

Thank you, Britney.

Early entry ticket or Meet&Greet?

I can say I was given the chance of getting a Meet&Greet ticket and I don’t regret choosing the Early Entry instead. It’s obvious that Britney Spears isn’t comfortable around many people and, because of that, it’s obvious that if it was up to her there wasn’t Meet&Greets.

I guess it’s better to live under the illusion that she is all we imagine her to be than to face a cold and shocking reality. Maybe it’s better to see her close for over a hour and a half than to have a picture of a moment that lasted less than 20 seconds and didn’t live up to our expectations.

Nonetheless, this is just an opinion of a fan that follows her for ages and I can’t be hypocrite enough to say that I wouldn’t like to meet her… It’d be a lie but maybe not under a Meet&Greet ticket.

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